Structural displacement measurements using DC coupled radar with active transponder

Shanyue Guan, Jennifer A. Rice, Changzhi Li, Yiran Li, Guochao Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Continuous wave (CW) radar sensors are a promising technology for structural displacement measurement. However, the commonly employed passive backscattering measurement configuration has some limitations for low-power applications of CW radar. To improve displacement measurement performance using the low-power CW radar, an active transponder configuration is introduced. Compared with passive backscattering, the active transponder configuration is capable of increasing the radar's signal power, thereby increasing the signal to noise ratio for more accurate displacement measurement. A series of laboratory experiments to demonstrate the performance of the transponder configuration was conducted, and the experimental results were compared with the results of using the backscattering configuration. The investigation revealed that the signal improvement provided by the transponder is a function of the distance between the transponder and the radar. In addition, a full-scale bridge test with the active transponder configuration was conducted to verify the improved performance. An oblique angle test using the transponder was conducted in the laboratory to demonstrate the potential for flexible installation strategies when deploying the radar/transponder pair for bridge displacement measurements.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1909
JournalStructural Control and Health Monitoring
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017


  • active transponder configuration
  • continuous wave radar
  • full-scale bridge test
  • multipath problem
  • structural displacement measurements


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